Gito Baloi

Southern African bass guitarist and singer

Southern African bass guitarist and singer Gito Baloi was killed during a mugging in downtown Johannesburg April 4.

Born in Mozambique, Baloi’s love for music showed itself at an early age as he used discarded paraffin tins, reeds and anything he could else he could find to make music. When he was 14 he borrowed a bass guitar to perform for villagers to help his struggling family survive.

His musical career was launched in 1986 when he formed the band Pongola and toured South Africa, before settling there to escape war-torn Mozambique. He was to become one of Southern Africa’s most prolific and versatile artists, best known internationally as one of the co-founders in 1988 of the contemporary jazz band Tananas along with Steve Newman and Ian Herman.

When Tananas dissolved in 1994, Baloi launched a solo career, constantly collaborating with musicians from around the world to create new sounds.

After performing with a collective entitled the African Gypsies at Womad in Australia in 1999, Baloi returned home to re-establish Tananas, the result of which was Sony release”Seed” and tours to the U.K., U.S., Europe and Asia.

He is survived by his wife Erika and two daughters.

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